Prisoners of Envy: Wal*Mart Nihilism Versus the Punk Rock of Blogging
By Phil Rockstroh
Dec 14, 2006, 20:03
The Holiday Season has arrived, unfolding before us, like a cheap vinyl wallet, here in The United States of American Express. The days spill forth, their hours comprised of shopping and shooting sprees, of retail and retaliation. Jingle bells and the crackle of gunfire. This is the way an empire falls, with armies of confused killers abroad and legions of killer clowns at home.
A decade and half ago, we watched smugly as The Kremlin came undone. Yet, somehow we believe ourselves to be immune from the rot that causes empires to collapse from within.
The Social Realist poets of the former Soviet Union made themselves the objects of much (deserved) derision, when, in the service of the dogmatic dictates of state communism, they penned poetic odes to crop yields, tractors and other farm implements.
When a Russian attempts to convey his passions, his soul is prone to reach inward seeking poetic depths. In contrast, nowadays, in situations of crucial importance, such as the anxious waiting in long lines involved when attempting to procure PlayStation 3s among the throngs of their fellow Home Entertainment Unit-lusting Fred C. Dobbs types, Americans express their ardor — by reaching for a gun. For we all know that The Baby Jesus would find the sound of Yuletide gunfire to be as soothing as a celestial lullaby.
Back down here on earth, while it was damn silly for Soviet aesthetes to go into a poetic swoon over farm equipment, somehow, the act of going collectively round-heeled over electronic appliances (including jealous rages that lead to homicidal outbursts) doesn’t seem like the sort of communal practices that will allow an empire to endure for long.
The former Soviet Union had the risible excesses of her Social Realists — but what is one to make of our culture of Wal*Mart Nihilists. Although, these acts are revelatory: These are the kinds of “crimes of passion” that contemporary Americans perpetrate. Such actions reveal what it is we truly care about, deep down. And, sadly, our concerns have little to do with being the keepers of Liberty’s flame — or even being good stewards of our children’s future.
The frustrations of a life defined by the narrow confines of corporatism produces these lethal states of mind, whereby the homicidal urges that are encoded into the genetic makeup of all human beings become magnified into impulses both monstrous and preposterous: Resultantly, many Americans view life and death issues as having the weightless consequences of a thrill-kill video game.
Read the rest of it here.